Saturday, February 5, 2011

February Is Shortest Month For Good

Just a lazy 70's mellow afternoon. Jim Croce, Laura Nyro, Carole King on the new kitchen radio/ipod player larry set up in the kitchen. Kids playing, baby and husband napping. Freezing drizzle tapping at my windows, which are steaming up from the inside. Feeling pretty okay. cooking. drinking tea. Oh -- holy shit! Just burnt the hell out of a batch of popcorn. Okay- fewer points to tally for weight watchers.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Thanksgiving

Okay, the date has passed, but I am filled with the need to say so many thank yous. It goes like this:

I have always wanted to own a mason jar. Thank you for anticipating this heretofore hidden desire and filling it with (winter!) daisies. If only I could bring you such cheer now that you need it.

I didn't get a chance to say goodbye, but I wanted to thank you for a lovely party. Dylan had such a great time bouncing around like a goon. Best of luck in Chicago.

I know it was late. I know you were so tired after running around taking care of everyone all day; taking Poppa for prune juice, making Grandma go to the mah-jong game despite her depression, cleaning up after the sick dog. And then taking us to see Shalom Sesame. It was so cold outside and I was hyperventilating, I was so upset. Thank you for bundling up and going out to your car to see if my phone was lost in your backseat. Thank you for being so nice when I called minutes later to tell you I'd found it upstairs. I know you need my ear, and I wish I could give it to you more.

Thank you for making me laugh every day. Today it was blue icing all over your hands and then hiding under the table when I tried to make you wash them. Thank you for telling me you had a secret and whispering it my ear, "I love you." I love you, too.

Thank you for calling me short and cute. It made me smile all day long.

Thank you for telling me again and again that I could always talk to you. Thank you for meaning it.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Circled

So, we're in therapy, and I shake my head yes, but I really mean I have no idea what you are talking about. I come home from a 12 hour day and the kitchen is a mess crawling with food and my husband says I think we have roaches and the therapist says you shouldn't be such a clean freak. It makes me want to take a nap.

Ok, I get it- that I should work on myself before others, that I have a sickness, too. Actually, it has a name: generalized anxiety disorder. I know that this is a term therapists give to relatively sane people so that they can charge their insurance for their sessions. I'm not a total idiot (though I could possibly be convinced that I am), but I hold onto this diagnosis like a rare jewel, shining from my cupped palm. Aha! So there's an explanation (besides my apparent allergy to dairy) for why my hands bleed into the dishes and the keyboard, stigmata-like. And the answer is not that I'm a martyr.

They say other people can't make you feel anything. Only you can make yourself feel and you can decide to feel whatever emotion you want. I feel very weak that I do not seem able to accomplish this task. I leave the therapy session and I am more frustrated than when I walked in, because now I feel like I have not only to actually do everything at home, but I also have to pretend that I'm not so that I'm not called a workaholic and so that my mind can be empty. I try it for a few days: don't make my lunch, let the dishes sit in the sink, do not fold the laundry, leave the toys where they fall, walk on floors gritty from my husband's construction projects. It feels fine mentally to not do stuff - I read, I make a household budget (not not doing something I realize, but something I've wanted to do for a long time), tell my husband he has to deal with the bills this month and the math that lends itself to negative numbers. But it feels a lot less okay when I come down in the morning to the assault of things everywhere in the kitchen, a scurry of little legs and antennae across my counters. It feels less okay when the baby's pacifier is covered in grit. When the numbers still don't add up and we have to go into savings ... again.

The therapist says my husband doesn't clean his pile of clothes because he doesn't give a shit. This is fundamentally true. I am not an idiot (though I am beginning to feel like one), but my question is why doens't he give a shit? Doesn't he want to live in a clean house (I do)? Doesn't he want our bills to be paid (I do)? Doesn't he care that it upsets me (I do)? Isn't it selfish to not do something just because you don't care, when the other person obviously cares so much? Isn't it caring to do something for another person because they will like it, to put your own desires on hold long enough to get your socks into the laundry basket? Why is it so wrong to ask for a little help?

I know I'm not thinking about this right, that somehow, I am supposed to do more for myself and less for my family/house/kids/husband and that magically this other stuff will get done, and then I'm supposed to be all zen and blase about it, but I don't get how this comes to pass. It seems like if I just sit there filing my nails, I'll be surrounded. I feel like I'm drowning and I don't know how to get it all done or allow it to not get done. Is that sick?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Copacetic

Listening to 90's grunge and power pop and screamy angry riot grrrrrl music that makes me melancholy now instead of happy. I feel wrung out.

My best friend is getting a divorce. Or maybe getting a divorce. Does it matter? It just feels all so complicated and messy and grim. I know there was never a time when it was all simple, when we were all just happy. I know that. I used to be angry at my parents and now I'm angry at my husband and I wonder how my parents ever put up with me. Is it any different now? I am clearly angry at whoever has control over my life. But what's the alternative? Life on my own (with two kids) - alone, lonely? That's why my friend's not ready to sign the papers yet, either. It's fucking scary and who knows if we'll ever be happy.

But there's something so soothing about those crashing guitars, all the sounds mashing together, nothing sharp except the baseline, but loud and pulsing. It's all that feeling. We feel dead now. there's so little left of us, all us old married ladies with our bitty babies. Our souls are thin. I am happy underneath it all, but there's so much sadness and anger and frustration and resignation piled on top that I sometimes don't recognize myself in the mirror. Whose tired eyes are those anyway, the ones with the crow's feet?

And yet, isn't there something beautiful about us, us thin women pushing to maintain careers, community, motherhood, love, friends, family, bodies, and spirits? We used to be the super-moms, but I walk around and see these other moms pushing their designer strollers or wearing their babies on top of their hipster sweaters and they look more like the babysitter than the mother. We've got our jeans rolled up and we're still drinking vodka tonics and accomplishing crow pose and that's got to count for something.

We thought we were pure and indie and destined for lives of art. But it all comes out as poop in the end.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Amreeka for Peace

I just saw a movie about Palestinian immigrants to the U.S. that showed the difficulties of life for new immigrants in general as well as Arabs in the U.S. and in Israel. It was such a human movie. I don't know if I agree with the political stance of the filmmaker on the Israel-Palestinian conflict - or the implied stance, anyway. I am not sure I totally disagree, either. But I do know that it showed Arabs as people. That's almost a ridiculous thing to say. Of course Arabs are people. But we tend to forget. I hear it from my family all the time. They will tell you they're not racist, but they are. They will tell you Arabs get what they deserve (as if all Arabs are one) for what they do to the Jews and to Israel.

I feel like my family is so progressive on so many issues. I would go as far as to call my dad a feminist. It is really painful that they have singled out this one group of people to hate irrationally. I guess hate is irrational. They will say I don't understand, that I am not close enough to the Holocaust to get it. That I haven't spent enough time in Israel. That I am a heretic. Even though the folks on the left probably consider me pretty far right on this issue.

In the movie, the grandmother sings a beautiful Arabic song at the going away party for the soon-to-be immigrants. It is heartbreaking to me how close I feel to that music. It is the melody and rhythm I grew up with - both Hebrew and Arabic. I realize that music appreciation is not a political solution, but it seems to bear witness to the fact that we are cousins, despite thousands of years living in Europe, just as African-Americans are cousins in some way to the cultures of West Africa. How can we kill each other, if we are cousins?

I do not know the right policy answers, but I do know that people need to live free and unafraid and no one in a place that is dear to my heart personally and spiritually is living that life right now. I do not know how to achieve it, but I know in my heart that we have to stop hating each other, we have to want peace. Love is not rational either, but it is better than hate.

I guess I'll get a lot of flack for this, but that's just something I'll have to accept.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Poisons

We don't know what dreams are or where they come from, but we know what they do. Sometimes the stories they create stay with us all day and we can't shake them. Sometimes nice dreams leave us feeling unsettled and some times bad dreams release all the poison you didn't know was stored up inside of you, like when you wake up and find out that the dream was not true and you are flooded with relief with your head so soft and immobile in the down pillow that smells of detergent and your shampoo and your husband's spicy deodorant and your toes are warm and not moving and the sun comes for the first time in days through the heavy wooden blinds and they neighbors are fighting out in the street again but you are not and you reach over and say, "I'm so glad it was just a dream," and your husband gives you his butcher hand and you roll your cheek onto it warm and calloused and you hear the baby in the other room, "Ah -ga-da-ba," and your little boy is still snoring away, and the dream sticks to you in shreds of color, but the rest leaks out like a fierce sweat from a high fever that soaks the mattress, but kills the illness, even though it leaves you exhausted. Like a good fight. Or a good fuck.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

It's the end of the world

Foghorn in the distance from my old friend Julie tonight. People do surprise you sometimes. I feel the nostalgia course through my blood thick and pungent as fenugreek. Who was I then, the girl who wanted to marry the skater boy in the REM video?

It seems, of course, that I did marry him, and that there he stays, riding and riding around that great destroyed house, eyes never on the camera, hair always in his tragic face. It is this tragedy that attracts us, that never leaves them, until they come home from work and stare and stare at the tv, making monumental efforts only to sleep over their buddies' houses after they've had operations, while our mothers are still the ones bringing us soup when we're sick. We are still 14 in our hearts, and no matter how angry we are, we are searching for that slick race of pulse when the boy on the skateboard finally tosses his bangs aside and smiles his half lifted lips, his sad, poker eyes dead at us. We married difficultly.

We still love each other, but we are no longer on the same team, and life is too short to wait and wait and wait for that smile. It is no longer enough reward.